The Virginia Bass Forum saw the return of the multi-talented bassist Bryan Beller to Forte Music Studios in June. Participants who attended Bryan’s first Bass Forum clinic in August 2009 learned the value of being a versatile bass player. The Forum, now in its second year of events, is a monthly gathering for bassists featuring either bass clinics, performances, or other bass related topics in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Bryan’s second Bass Forum appearance was a highly interactive clinic, much to the delight of the attendees. Nearly 30 people brought their basses, and every single one of them received some one-on-one bass instruction from Bryan, ranging from tone shaping tips to soloing concepts. The event was an open mic, and drew a crowd of seventy people from Northern Virginia, Richmond, Culpeper, and Maryland.
For the first half of the clinic, Bryan worked with volunteers from the audience, giving tips on how to improve each bassist’s individual tone to their liking. To do this, the participants worked through each element in signal chain, evaluating how each item affects their tone. Participants saw what each element of the signal chain does (EQ, the type of bass used, active vs passive basses) and how to work with each element to get their desired tone. Bryan even covered what a bassist’s hands do in shaping one’s tone.
After a brief Q & A session, Bryan began the soloing portion of the clinic. The soloing concepts portion of the clinic was invaluable. Bryan discussed how he developed his soloing skills on bass, and the scales and concepts he uses to craft his own bass solos.
After Bryan demoed some of the concepts he uses to solo, he invited volunteers up to solo. Bryan’s wife, the lovely and talented Kira Small, joined him on keyboards. Together they provided a rhythm section for the soloing exercises. After each participant took a solo, Bryan would offer tips to help craft and shape their solos. Then the participant would take another solo to implement the suggestions that were offered.
Since there were several Dethklok fans in attendance, Bryan closed his clinic with a performance of “Bloodlines”.
Overall, the students really enjoyed the high level of interactivity in Bryan’s clinic. Everyone went away with tips to improve their playing and how to better get the tone they desire.
Participant April Tos shared, “I liked his hands-on approach to teaching the participants about their instruments and that his philosophy is “…there is no wrong answer, just learn how to get the sound you like.”